Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

Snorkeling at the Mall of America

Snorkeling at a mall, you say? Yes, you read that right. We went snorkeling at the Mall of America in the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, and it was quite the adventure. It had been years since we were last at the aquarium, but we were excited to have an entirely new experience this time around.Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

While exploring adventure at the mall, we had the chance to take a dip and make friends with the tropical fish in the Rainbow Reef aquarium. The morning started out with a 9:15 a.m. call time—we descended the escalators into the depths of the mall, and curiously waited for the tour to start. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we were definitely excited.

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

Soon enough, the other members in our group arrived and we were off to start our adventure. After a short walk behind the scenes, we made it to the room with the aquariums. I really enjoyed getting a different perspective on the tanks. Typically, you only see the tanks from the tunnels below, but from above, they almost looked like giant swimming pools filled with fish!

First order of business was to get a rundown of the fish we were about to see and what to expect from our time snorkeling. We learned what to do if one was bothering us and what areas of the fish to watch out for—think poison, spikes and the like. But, we also learned that we were not in any danger by hopping into the tanks. All of the fish were safe to swim with—phew.

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

Once all of the necessary info was divulged, we changed into our provided wetsuits, and got sized up for masks, snorkels and fins. After a quick photo op in all of our gear, it was time to do what we came for: snorkel with the fish!

 

The Rainbow Reef is the aquarium that snorkelers swim in, but if you want to go scuba diving, you get to take a trip over to the Atlantis tank and swim with some larger sharks, turtles, sawfish and more.

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

At first the chilly water took my breath away, but after a few flicks of my fins, I warmed right up and forgot all about the initial cold shock. We were swimming with fish such as puffer fish, tangs, bamboo sharks, to name just a few of the 75 plus fish in the tank. The other creatures we saw? Humans! The Ocean Tunnel provides views into the tank for aquarium visitors, so we were able to wave at the passerby’s and be a part of the exhibit for a bit!

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

The in-water portion of the snorkel session runs for 30 minutes. The tank was quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be (although it’s definitely not small!), so I was wondering if 30 minutes would be too long. But, there were so many varieties of fish to study that it was actually the perfect amount of time, and we had a lot of fun.

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

After your snorkeling is done, there are showers in the locker room where you can wash all the salt off, and once you are squeaky clean, you will get your souvenir photo. The entire experience took around an hour, but don’t worry, once you are out of the water your adventure isn’t over. With the snorkeling package, you also get tickets for the rest of the aquarium attractions, as well!

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

The main attraction is a 300 ft. long ocean tunnel, which is made up of four different tanks—each tank holds a different variety of fish from different climates. The Atlantis exhibit is home to several varieties of sharks, sawfish, some smaller fish and sea turtles, and the Amazon River exhibit is home to Arapaima, Black Pacu, and a catfish to name a few. A few of the critters in the Sturgeon Lake exhibit are sturgeon, bass, muskellunge and more. And, last but not least, there is the Rainbow Reef exhibit, which is the tank we went snorkeling in.

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

Other exhibits in the aquarium are the jellyfish room, the multiple sea horse tanks, the stingray adventure where you can pet and feed stingrays, a coral display with clown fish, and the Pacific Northwest Rockpool where you can touch anemones, starfish and more.

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

Snorkeling at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

Besides snorkeling and diving, there are a variety of other special programs. A few of the programs are behind the scenes tours, overnight adventures, and sharks after dark. Basically, SEA LIFE has plenty to offer almost anyone!

The snorkel tour costs $89.99 per person, which includes the 1 hour snorkeling program, snorkel gear, souvenir photo and aquarium admission. If you would rather just visit the aquarium, admission is $24.25 at the box office and $17.99 in advance online.

Special thanks to the Mall of America and SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium for providing us with complementary tours. As always, all opinions are our own.

20 Comments
  • Julie
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:00h, 08 December Reply

    Wow! I had no idea you could snorkel at MOA. I haven’t been to the exhibit in many years so it might be time for me to check it out again. Your photos are amazing.
    Julie recently posted…Finding Holiday CheerMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 03:32h, 09 December Reply

      Thanks so much! I know, I didn’t realize there was snorkeling there until recently either. It was so much fun and the entire aquarium has changed quite a bit in the last several years!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Snorkeling at the Mall of AmericaMy Profile

  • Alana
    Twitter:
    Posted at 08:52h, 12 December Reply

    I had no idea you could snorkel at MOA. They really are turning into a vacation destination. Perfect for winter time! We’ll have to make a trip over there when we return to Wisconsin in January!
    Alana recently posted…Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2016My Profile

  • Rosemary
    Posted at 19:15h, 12 December Reply

    Very interesting post. Had no idea one could go snorkeling in a mall…no less the Mall of America. Noted for next trip to Minnesota.

  • Ana O
    Twitter:
    Posted at 10:42h, 13 December Reply

    I knew you could do unusual stuff at malls but this is pretty wild!
    Ana O recently posted…Gondola rides in Buenos AiresMy Profile

  • Toccara
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:53h, 13 December Reply

    I’m actually not a fan of snorkeling because of fear of the unknown creatures, but in a controlled environment, I might could muster up the courage! Snorkeling in a mall… who’da thunk!?
    Toccara recently posted…Connect with Locals in Mai Chau VillagesMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 02:15h, 30 December Reply

      I can understand that–I always get a little freaked out not knowing what’s around me too. It was cool that they gave you a little rundown of everything you would encounter–fun to know what you are looking at and can definitely make it a bit less scary! 🙂
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…6 Self Drive Road Trips in IcelandMy Profile

  • Wandering Carol
    Twitter:
    Posted at 20:35h, 13 December Reply

    And all I did at the Mall was buy a pair of shoes! Sounds fun and you got some great photos. Good thing you weren’t snorkelling with the sharks and stingrays.
    Wandering Carol recently posted…The best blog ambassadorship – waving goodbye to Rocky MountaineerMy Profile

  • Joe Ankenbauer
    Twitter:
    Posted at 20:54h, 13 December Reply

    This is awesome! I’ve been to the Mall of America, but didn’t know you could snorkel. It doesn’t surprise me, as that mall is gigantic! Great write up and now I have a new bucket list item haha!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 02:13h, 30 December Reply

      Thanks! Glad you have a new bucket list item!! I was surprised to learn you could snorkel there too–we had been going to the mall forever and just found out about it recently! So much fun!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…6 Self Drive Road Trips in IcelandMy Profile

  • Vicky and Buddy
    Twitter:
    Posted at 21:36h, 13 December Reply

    I would have been a little nervous after hearing about poison and spikes! I’m glad you guys had no issues. And I think that price is very reasonable considering that it includes so much. Whenever I get to MOA I’ll definitely consider it.
    Vicky and Buddy recently posted…Fun And Unique Places To Eat In Charleston, South CarolinaMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 02:11h, 30 December Reply

      I know! That part was a bit nerve-wracking but thankfully they kept to themselves 🙂 Yeah, it does include a good amount for the price–it’s nice that you get admission to the aquarium after the snorkeling! Hope you enjoy it if you go!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…6 Self Drive Road Trips in IcelandMy Profile

  • Mar
    Twitter:
    Posted at 23:44h, 13 December Reply

    How cool hey! I saw this in the Dubai Mall almost every week when i was living there but never got in the water. It is awesome how you cant take picts from above, inside and from the sides! All in a mall, cool
    Mar recently posted…50 things to do in SingaporeMy Profile

  • Sharon
    Posted at 01:51h, 05 November Reply

    SNORKELING AT THE MALL OF AMERICA

    WOW! Didn’t know it existed, but thank you for the in-depth details, the video, and the pictures.

    Being a keen snorkeler, I will place this on my thimble list of things that I must do. 🙂

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